The third part of the questions

Questions arising from part four

(1) Question: There are two ways in which natural causes produce their effects: one way is with the heavenly bodies and the other way is with the bodies below. So the question is: in which of these two ways do natural causes act with greater necessity in producing effects here below?
Solution: Naturally, we see that when Mars and Venus are alone together in the house of Aries, or Leo or Sagittarius, Venus is transmuted into acting counter to its nature, like water heating meat in a pot with the heat it gets from fire. And if the nature of heaven was a more necessary cause than the causes here below, water boiling meat in a pot would do so on account of natural heavenly causes producing effects here below, and this would be a D planet overcome by B. And so the D planet would have to be overcome every hour, every day and every year while water is used to boil meat; a planet of the D complexion, or any other complexion cannot possibly be overcome in every combination, and obviously water in a pot can be used to boil meat any day of the year as an effect of a D planet overcome by B. It is therefore obvious that the nature of heaven does not produce its effects as necessarily as do the natural causes at work here below.

Aided by the Sun, a man begets another man and in reproduction the father is a nearer and more necessary cause than the Sun, because the father produces his son from himself and according to his own species, which the Sun does not do. And if both the father and the mother are of the D complexion, they will produce a son of the D complexion. Thus, a man produces his son formally and the Sun produces him by means of an instrument, hence the father is a more necessary cause than the Sun.

(2) Question: When Jupiter and Venus are in Gemini, Libra or Aquarius, the combination brings joy here below to its natives. So we ask whether a native of this combination who is in a state of sin can feel remorse and sorrow for his sins, or whether his natal stars will keep him forever happy?
Solution: Supposing that a woman born under the said stars has a son whom she loves very much, and sees him being murdered before her eyes, the stars cannot defend this woman against sadness, weeping and sorrow. Likewise a sinner's conscience and free will can cause him greater sadness and sorrow for his sins than any happiness the stars can bring.

(3) Question: Does God, with his justice, mercy, charity and grace have more power than the stars in heaven to bestow good or bad fortune on men here below?
Solution: God is the prime cause and the stars are secondary causes, so it is obvious that God is supreme and can cause whatever effect He wants, bypassing the natural power of heaven. Moreover, man produces effects here below more than the Sun does, as shown in a previous example.

(4) Question: Does man have any freedom to resist the stars in heaven?
Solution: Freedom is an instrument of the will, which is a part of the human soul and joined to the body, and freedom is an instrument for making choices, like the ears are for hearing and the eyes for seeing. And even though the stars in heaven are the natural instruments for causing good and bad fortune, as instruments they are neither joined to the human body nor are they parts of it, and therefore man can overcome the effects of the stars with his free will. And we know this by experience:  if a man has an appetite for some natural act on account of hunger or thirst or things like that, he can restrain this act so that it does not proceed from potentiality into act, even though the stars give him an appetite for it. And go to the second part of part four.

(5) Question: Are men who live in mortal sin without any conscience or moral virtue able to act against the natural course of the stars in heaven?
Solution: A thirsty goat cannot imagine that the fresh water it drank tasted salty, nor can it imagine that the wolf is a good animal, and in the same way the stars cannot in any way compel human free will because physical acts have no natural means at all to overpower spiritual acts. Thus a sinner has the free will to choose among different sins and the stars can do nothing to stop him.

(6) Question: Do the stars have as much power to influence a man while he sleeps as they do when he is awake?
Solution: The stars have power over the human body in matters of health, illness, heat, generation and decay but this power of the stars does not extend to the human soul just like  the power of sight does not extend to the acts of hearing and taste, as it is confined to the sole act of sight. Thus, the stars have as much power over a man when he is asleep as when he is awake, but only as regards his physical nature: like the wind and the sea that have power to move a ship while all the sailors are asleep, but while the helmsman steers the ship, he can steer it to go against winds and currents.

(7) Question: Can the stars compel a thirsty man not to drink in a place where he knows he can get drink?
Solution: The stars per se never oppose their own natural act as we already said, just like fire in its own nature cannot be against heating; but like water can be compelled by fire to act against its own nature and to heat things, as we said, so can man oppose his stars with the freedom of his will whenever he is thirsty and yet refuses to drink or to go where he can get a drink.

(8) Question: Can a man's habits overcome his stars?
Solution: A man naturally gets thirsty whenever B in his body overcomes D and combinations of D are active in giving a man the appetite to go get something to drink, but his will gives him license to drink or not to drink. And if a man with an acquired taste for wine then goes to the tavern and drinks wine which is of a B complexion opposed to D, his habit overcomes his stars.

(9) Question: Leo and the Sun give an appetite for increasing B and Cancer and Venus give an appetite for increasing D, so now we ask whether a very thirsty who is moved to choose wine, is under the starry influence of B B or D D?
Solution: Naturally, a thirsty man acquainted with wine is inclined to drink wine by B and to drink water by D, and above his physical nature stands his will that can freely choose to act against B or against D whenever he wants to.

(10) Question: Do plants have any natural property that allows them to act against the stars and the nature of heaven?
Solution: Inanimate bodies can never chose to change, like trees can neither walk nor change their qualities, and the same with wine and all other elemented or inanimate bodies. Since they have no power of choice, they cannot resist the stars.

(11) We have dealt with the questions about astronomy and the solutions that can help to understand and make judgments regarding the activity of heaven and the passivity of things here below where the good and bad fortune of humans arises. The questions we have put can be used by leaders and other persons to reprehend the impostors and frauds who pretend to be astronomers but know little as they are unable to answer the questions in this treatise.

Here, by the grace of God, ends the first part of astronomy that consists of the five above parts.

And there is no need to deal with the second part of astronomy here because it concerns places, hours and degrees when one or more planets are in a sign. These things can be determined with an astrolabe and tables, as hours are counted with by following the shadow on the astrolabe and the tables serve to calculate star positions by interpolation. So we have said enough in this treatise, since there is no need to reason from suppositions in the second part, but only to suppose that the tables are accurate. 

This treatise on astronomy was finished with the help of God's virtue in the city of Paris in October of 1297 AD. 

Thanks be to God.

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